The leading Lions and Whistlers sides continued their strong starts to the season in the top flight of the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues ahead of their first encounter of the season next week.
Lions A head the Division by a single point and they narrowly battled past the bottom placed side Lions D 6-4 this week. With leading player Ben Foss absent, Ryan Bichard stepped up to the plate strongly with a trio of singles wins over Liam Robilliard, Steve Ozanne and Charlotte Casey, dropping just the single end to Robilliard in the process. Jamie Ferbrache added wins over Ozanne and Casey, however it was the former encounter which was the most hard fought. Ozanne led 2-1 and had leads in both the 4th and 5th ends, however Ferbrache showed great fight and turned around the final 2 ends to clinch them 12-10, 11-9. His victory over Casey came in 4 sets. Bichard and Ferbrache teamed well to win the important doubles rubber over Robilliard and Ozanne in 4 sets. There was a welcome rare return to action for Luke Bichard, with the rising Island Cricket star and Lions ad-hoc reserve playing his first table tennis since 2017. He was unable to add any further wins for his team, but improved as the night went on, taking a set of Ozanne in the final match of the night. Robilliard picked up the other win for his side courtesy of a 4 set win over Ferbrache.
Whistlers A came through a tight affair of their own over 3rd placed side Lions B, also 6-4. Lawrence Stacey continues to show his strong start to the season as the joint averages topper picked up another 3 singles wins this week. He beat Phil Ogier and Dawn Morgan in 4 sets, before defeating Andre De Carteret in straight sets in the final match of the night. Matt Casey and Ryan Gilson each added straight sets singles wins over De Carteret and it was the duo of Stacey and Gilson which came through a tight straight sets win over Ogier and De Carteret in the pivotal doubles clash.
Lions C picked up their first point of the season after battling to a 5-5 draw with 4th placed side Whistlers B. Paul Hainsworth joins Lawrence at the top of the averages having lost just one singles match this season and he was instrumental for his side this week. He defeated Josh Stacey and Ben Sharp in 4 sets as well as earning a straight sets win over Ellis Tomlin. He also teamed up with Sam Clark to win their first doubles match of the season after they edged a close 4 setter over Stacey and Tomlin. Clark had a strong evening himself as he made a super comeback from 2-0 to defeat Tomlin in an extremely tight affair which ended 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 17-15, 13-11. Stacey and Sharp each defeated Clark in singles action, whilst all Whistlers players earned straight sets singles wins over the Lions reserve Ian Le Page.
Whistlers D remain 2 points clear at the top and their 5th successive win of the season was their best as it was a 10-0 whitewash over Ravenscroft Panthers B. Martin Sarre, Craig Dunning and Paula Le Ber all dispatched Oscar Pearson, Amy Wesley and Juliette Yeaman in singles action, however Pearson and Wesley each narrowly lost out to Le Ber in 5 sets, whilst Pearson suffered another 5 set loss at the hands of Dunning, having earlier led 2-0. Sarre and Dunning won the doubles match against Wesley and Yeaman in straight sets.
Ravenscroft Panthers D are now a point clear at the top of the table after rivals Whistlers G slipped to their first defeat of the season.
The Panthers side have looked in command in each match thus far this season and a 7-3 win was obtained over their C side this week. Shaun Mosley continued his good start to the season with wins over Mick Ingrouille, Brandon Ferbrache and Melissa Johns. Steve Martin beat Johns and Ingrouille, whilst Mark Windsor added a further win over Johns. Mosley and Martin won the close doubles game against Ingrouille and Johns in 5 sets.
Whistlers G on the other hand actually slipped to third as a consequence of their 6-4 defeat to Whistlers F, who are now in second position and just a single point behind the leaders. Stuart Sarre was in super form for his F side as he powered through matching 4 set wins over Ken Falla, Erik Teteruck and Max Burrows. Brother Darren earned an impressive straight sets win over Teteruck, whilst Matthew Board battled back exceptionally well from 2-0 down to overcome Burrows in 5 sets. It was Sarre and Board who navigated the crucial doubles rubber over the tricky combination of Falla and Teteruck in 5 sets.